[prakriti and purusha]

The material nature is compared to a mother, because it gives birth to different varieties of living entities. Thus the material world is known as mother nature or prakriti.

As no mother can produce offspring without being impregnated by a seed giving father, similarly mother nature can not create without the help of the Supreme Lord [purusha] who impregnates the living entities into the womb of material nature.

Less intelligent people, who do not understand the process of creation, may argue that the mother is the cause of creation, because she gives birth to the child which comes out from her own womb. But how did it get inside in the first place? Anyway, intelligent people understand that the cause of the childs birth is the seed giving father. Generally it is experienced, that the father gives the life to the child but the mother gives its physical body. Although the seed of life is given by the father, the material body develops within the womb of the mother. Similarly the living entities, which are part and parcels of the Supreme Lord, are impregnated into the womb of material nature which provides different types of material bodies. Thus material nature brings forth many different species and forms of life.

The Supreme Lord is the seed-giving father of all living entities, and material nature is the womb, or mother. "This material nature is working under My direction," Krishna says, "producing all moving and non-moving beings. Under its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again" [Bg. 9.10]. The Lord injects living entities into the womb of material nature simply by glancing, and they manifest in different forms and species, depending upon their previous desires and activities.

Matter by itself is unconscious and inert. It only comes to apparent life when Spirit enters into a combination with the material Elements. The conditioned Soul is therefore a combination of the material and spiritual energies of the Lord. In his original state the Soul is pure spirit, but coming into contact with matter, the spirit soul becomes embodied in physical forms and is therefore a mixture of spirit and matter.

Everything that exists in the material world is therefore a product of matter and spirit, but spirit is the basic field of creation. Spirit is not created at a certain stage of material development. Matter grows around spirit. For example, a baby's body grows to childhood and youth and then maturity because the spirit soul is present within the body. Similarly, the entire cosmic manifestation develops because of the presence of the Supreme Soul.

In material nature, the superior energy [spirit] is mixed up with the inferior energy [matter] by the arrangement of the Supreme Lord, and thereafter all living entities are born of this material world.

Prakriti or material nature is thus connected with both, the Supreme Lord and the living entities, just as a women is connected with both her husband as a wife and her children as a mother.

In Bhagavad Gita [14.3-4] Lord Krishna says: "It should be understood that all species of life are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father, who impregnates the material energy with living entities, thus making possible the birth of all living creatures."

This impregnation of material nature, or natures creation, is also explained in Bhagavad-Purana. It is stated there that the material nature is ever existing in its subtle form as the energy of the Lord known as pradhana. When the Lord enters this pradhana in the form of the time factor, material nature becomes agitated by the three gunas and manifests the mahat-tattva [sum-total of the 24 Elements] which is the destination of the conditioned souls as well as the breeding source of all varieties of species of life. This sum-total of material elements, pradhana, is also described as "yonir mahad brahma" because it is the source of birth and subsidence of all living entities. [SB 3.26.11-19]

When we speak of external energy or material nature, the question may be raised, "Whose energy? Whose nature?" Material energy or nature is not active independently. Such a concept is foolish. In Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that material nature does not work independently. When a foolish man sees a machine he may think that it is working automatically, but actually it is not--there is a driver, someone in control, although we sometimes cannot see the controller behind the machine due to our defective vision. There are many electronic mechanisms which work very wonderfully, but behind these intricate systems there is a scientist who pushes the button. This is very simple to understand: since a machine is matter, it cannot work on its own accord but must work under spiritual direction. A tape recorder works, but it works according to the plans and under the direction of a living entity, a human being. The machine is complete, but unless it is manipulated by a spirit soul, it cannot work. Similarly, we should understand that this cosmic manifestation which we call nature is a great machine and that behind this machine there is God, the Supreme controller.

Energies are always controlled by the energetic, and therefore living entities are always controlled by the Lord--they have no independent existence. Prakriti is always under control, whether inferior or superior.

Prakriti is female and she is controlled by the Lord just as the activities of a wife are controlled by the husband. Prakriti is always subordinate, predominated by the Lord, who is the predominator. The living entities and material nature are both predominated, controlled by the Supreme Lord.

Material nature has no power to create without the power of the purusa, just as prakriti, or woman, cannot produce a child without the connection of a purusa, or man. The purusa impregnates, and the prakriti delivers.

please also see:
two types of prakriti


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